Alternatives to lifting concrete masonry blocks onto rebar: Biomechanical and perceptual evaluations

J. A. Hess, R. L. Mizner, L. Kincl, D. Anton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study examined the use of and barriers to H-block and high lift grouting, two alternatives to lifting concrete masonry blocks onto vertical rebar. Peak and cumulative shoulder motions were evaluated, as well as adoption barriers: H-block cost and stakeholder perceptions. Results indicated that using the alternatives significantly decreased peak shoulder flexion (p < 0.001). A case study indicated that building cost was higher with H-block, but the difference was less than 2% of the total cost. Contractors and specifiers reported important differences in perceptions, work norms, and material use and practices. For example, 48% of specifiers reported that use of high lift grouting was the contractor's choice, while 28% of contractors thought it must be specified. Use of H-block or high-lift grouting should be considered as methods to reduce awkward upper extremity postures. Cost and stakeholders' other perceptions present barriers that are important considerations when developing diffusion strategies for these alternatives.Practitioner Summary: This study provides information from several perspectives about ergonomic controls for a high risk bricklaying task, which will benefit occupational safety experts, health professionals and ergonomists. It adds to the understanding of shoulder stresses, material cost and stakeholder perceptions that will contribute to developing effective diffusion strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1242
Number of pages14
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • biomechanics
  • bricklaying
  • diffusion of innovation
  • ergonomics
  • shoulder injury
  • stakeholder perceptions


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